It was in May last year when Prime Minister Narendra Modi invited startups in India to focus on research for innovative medical devices and use technology to make healthcare more affordable.
Going in line with this, BETiC (Biomedical Engineering & Technology incubation Center) of IIT Bombay, which has 13 innovation centers across the country, has now created 40 different novel and affordable medical devices.
16 such stories are chronicled in Prof B Ravi’s book ‘The Essence of Medical Device Innovation’, published by The Write Place’, a division of Crossword Bookstores.
The book became the subject of a discussion between Prof B Ravi- Head of BETiC, IIT-B and Mynoo Maryel- Convenor of World Dignity Forum. BETiC is supported by the Government of Maharashtra and Central Govt of India.
Hon. Lok Sabha MP Poonam Mahajan- National President of Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha presided over the same.
The session revolved around the theme of ‘Low-cost medical devices for a billion Indians’ and was moderated by Vithal Nadkarni, Senior Consultant of Times of India.
“At BETiC, we make the journey form idea, to innovation to testing to impact”, said Prof Ravi. “Our experience at BETiC shows that this is now possible in India – thanks to the market pull by doctors, technology push by researchers and conducive environment created by the government for entrepreneurs”
Some of these products are-
- The smart stethoscope (Ayulink) – This allows doctors in a remote place to record and send heart or chest sounds to experts in tertiary hospitals for second opinion and diagnosis.The first batch of these stethoscopes has been given to 10 PHCs in Bhavnagar.
- Diabetic Foot Screener – India has 60 million diabetics and every year, over 1 lac people undergo amputation. BETiC has developed the ‘diabetic foot screener’, which helps healthcare workers in far-flung locations to prevent long-term ulceration and amputation among patients.The device detects the stiffness of the tissues on the sole of feet, and the patient is placed in green, yellow and red risk zones. Treatment is suggested accordingly.Rural health care workers can be trained to use it.
- The Hybrid plaster splint- This is a simple formulation to to hold injured body parts together after an accident to prevent further damage during transport to the hospital and can be used in the remotest of villages.
In less than four years, BETiC (Biomedical Engineering and Technology incubation Centre) has grown to 13 centres across the state, where more than 100 doctors and engineers are working together closely to solve the healthcare problems of a billion people.
“I have realised in my 12 years of my career as a politician that content and confidence is more vital than anything else. Innovation and failure is a part of learning. 30 km away from Mumbai, near Palghar, are essentially tribal areas. My team and I have been working on making them sustainable,” said Poonam Mahajan, Lok Sabha MP, inviting BETiC to run pilots in her adopted villages of Charoti and Vaghadi.
“Low cost medical device innovation, can provide full spectrum wellness and therefore dignity. Dignity is key to any nation’s development ” added Mynoo Maryel, Convenor of the World Dignity Forum.
“Greatness is excellence divided by ego,” added Prof Ravi, much to the crowd’s delight.
Deftly guided by the moderator Vithal Nadkarni, the discussion brought out experiential elements like ‘dealing with failure’, ‘ creating inspired teams’ and “being able to add value” while doing one’s job. “Put the patient at the centre of your focus, and everything else will take care of itself,” summed up Prof Ravi.
“Usually people talk about a product or an innovation from the manufacturer and the packaging point of view. But today we have individuals from different ends of the spectrum. One who creates and imagines the innovation, and one who can take it to the people,” surmised Vithal Nadkarni, Senior Consultant, TOI.
Prof. Ravi had also gifted a copy of the book to Honourable PM Shri Modi during his visit to IIT-Bombay for the Diamond Jubilee Convocation on 11th August. The PM gracefully autographed a copy, much to the delight of BETiC team.
It may also be recalled that, the Government of India and the World Bank have had signed a $125 million loan agreement to support India in developing an innovative biopharmaceutical and medical devices industry and support Government of India’s Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Program (BIRAC). BIRAC was set up five years ago to support innovative start-ups and collaborations through strategic partnerships.